Sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned no matter what you do. You start each day with the best of intentions and expect to achieve success. However, this isn’t a Hallmark movie. There are lots of situations in your life that happen outside of your control. These unexpected moments derail your positive intentions. As leaders, we want to grow a business, advance in a career, have better relationships, and create freedom and margin to spend our time doing whatever we want.
You have emotion, hope, and aspirations of accomplishing more than any previous year at the start of any new year. You may have even started your year with resolutions, goals, and a plan to dominate. Even with the best strategies, something will knock you off course. You will undoubtedly experience a test of your resolve.
When you experience overwhelming frustration, you have a choice to make. You can decide that whatever you’re dealing with is too hard to face and throw in the towel. Or, you can take a different path and decide to get through the difficult experiences and learn the life lessons you’re being offered. Every experience in life creates learning moments if you’re willing to listen.
After you cater to your wounds and regroup, you’ll have to stand up and get back to work. If you have gone through hard times, you know that getting refocused and committed to your goals is easier said than done. During any recovery period after experiencing what feels like a defeat, you’ll need to tap into your sources of motivation. You will need to be inspired and remember why you started this journey to create success.
Without having motivation, your feelings, emotions, and irrational fears will feed into self-limiting beliefs that will derail your progress. A little voice will convince you that there’s no way to recover. Life will often bring situations that feel too hard to handle. These situations can potentially hurt your motivation and determination to accomplish your goals. It’s important to understand that motivation is always there if you know how to tap into it.
“Change equals self-improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before.” – Pat Summitt
If you’re going to create success and accomplish your goals, you’ll need to know how to get motivated. What I’m talking about isn’t the raw-raw kind of motivation that makes you feel good, and then you crash. I’m talking tapping into the coal that pushes your success train. This kind of motivation is more than feelings — it’s inspiration and a determination to make it through circumstances that are trying to hold you back.
You need motivation sources so that you can find motivation whenever you need it. We live in an age where sources of motivation are all around us in various platforms and mediums. Leaders can get motivated through inspirational and informative podcasts, blogs, videos, books, and other people. The internet and social media create a bubble that helps success-seekers instantly receive motivation through content that’s free, available, and practical.
You can find your favorite biography, inspirational quote, series of books, speaker videos, and more so that you leverage these sources of motivation to get focused and re-inspired. Self-awareness is essential in this circumstance because it helps you know what motivates you. Your sources of motivation are going to be different than the next person. It may be music or watching a Joel Brown video. It may be books or listening to a podcast.
To create continuous motivation, you’ll need to know what motivation sources are practical for you and how to access them. When you experience a setback or moments of frustration, instantly access motivation.
Motivation can also manifest through people. Friends, family members, or other inspiring success-seekers can help you move forward. You can join mastermind groups or other social clubs.
Your best source of motivation is your main WHY and where you’re going. It can be growing a business, starting a dream career, or building extraordinary relationships. You should know that success isn’t a finish line. The journey to becoming the best version of yourself never ends.
Reaching success and creating a wonderful life should be your best source of motivation. Let it fuel you to keep moving forward despite setbacks.
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Once you’ve created your primary sources of motivation and know where to find them, commit to keeping consistent motivation as a part of your success routine. Create space and room in your schedule every day to get re-inspired. You can think of this as personal development time with an emphasis on personal — you taking care of yourself. This is a time to get your mind, body, and spirit right.
Building the habit of staying motivated creates high performance that helps you get more done in a focused way. It’s how you become elite at what you do because you use a strategy others won’t. It takes a lot to become the best version of yourself. It takes tremendous strength to grow and put in the work. You will need support. You can’t do this without the proper motivation.
External circumstances and your feelings will overwhelm you without motivation. This can be a year full of accomplished goals and dreams fulfilled. Use your sources of motivation to get there.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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